Are you pouring your dollars into content marketing without seeing significant returns? If yes, you’re in the majority. CMI’s 2016 B2B Content Marketing Report shows nearly 70% of B2B marketers are ineffective at content marketing yet more than half of them have plans to increase their content marketing spend this year.
The biggest challenge most marketers face with content marketing is quantifying a return on their investments (ROI). And, rightly so. Because it’s difficult to pinpoint which marketing piece actually motivated someone to buy, it’s hard to put exact dollar value on an article, blog post or white paper. However, measuring content marketing and other marketing efforts in the exact same way is the first big mistake that you’re probably making. Therefore, knowing how content marketing is distinct from other marketing forms is a great place to start.
It’s important to understand that payoffs from a content strategy are not as immediate as with other forms of marketing. It may take weeks or months to show results. But, good content is a long-term asset which pays dividends far into the future. For example, if you have engaging blog posts with relevant keywords up on your site, they will drive people to your website for many years to come.
However, it’s still important to measure the effectiveness and success of your content strategies to know if your content is being read and acted upon or if it’s sinking to the bottom.
A simple analysis of your content marketing practices could be done using Google AdWords as Scott Severson explains in this article published on CMI. This method, however, is particularly for content that resides on your website. For tracking the true value of your overall content marketing efforts, it‘s important to begin with a clear goal, a set of relevant marketing metrics, and key performance indicators.
How your content is being consumed. This involves metrics like engagement level, the channels used, and the frequency of consumption. To track these metrics, you should focus on KPIs such as total visits, page views, visit duration, downloads, and bounce rate. Using a web analytics program such as Google Analytics, you can measure data that will tell you where, how often, and for how long your content is consumed.
How your content gets shared. Does your content resonate with your audience and compel them to share it with their peers? KPIs like social likes, follows, shares, tweets and re-tweets on social media platforms that are part of your content strategy can indicate how engaging and share-worthy your content is. However, be warned: social impressions can often become a low-hanging fruit for marketers - empty numbers that trump meaningful results. This is why it’s more important to track the inbound links and actual conversion rate associated with your social impressions than measuring them alone.
How many qualified leads your content generates. To track the number of qualified leads generated by your content, you could set up campaign and event tracking in your analytics program. This will take you through the path taken by leads in the sales funnel. Another way of tracking the lead generation capacity of your content is to use lead capturing forms such as newsletter or inquiry form.
You could take one step further to track the qualified leads all the way through the sale funnel process to determine how your content impacts customer acquisition via marketing automation and CRM systems.
For frequent publishers, some of the most helpful data crumbs are provided by the content that’s already in action. For instance, tracking what type of content gets maximum response, what content performs best at which stage of the sales cycle, etc. can allow you to separate your most successful content types from not-so-successful ones. Such data-driven strategy can help you recreate the type of content you know your audience has engaged before.
Measuring success and the ROI on content always tops the list for those doing content marketing, and doing it well. With these tips we’ve shared, you’ll be better positioned to figure out just how much revenue your content is driving, and (hopefully) will be able to create more value through effective content marketing.
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